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Wide receiver Donnie Avery was cut loose by the St. Louis Rams earlier this week. Avery was drafted 33rd overall in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Houston, and he almost immediately produced. Avery caught 53 passes for 674 yards and three touchdowns in his first season and added on another 47 receptions the next season. But in 2010, Avery tore his ACL and missed the entire 2012 season. It looks like the Rams felt like they were set with Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander and Mike Sims-Walker, and there was no room for players like Avery, Gilyard, and Robinson.
But the San Francisco 49ers will definitely try and make room. Howard Balzer reports that Avery had a tryout with the 49ers. The Niners could be looking to fill in depth behind Michael Crabtree, Braylon Edwards and Josh Morgan, because the 49ers second-unit is high on inexperience. Considering how injury-prone Crabtree is, having a fourth option like Avery could help out Alex Smith and the 49ers passing game.
For more on the 49ers, go to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers already have Alex Smith as the starting quarterback and rookie Colin Kaepernick as the back-up. The team spent much of the lockout-shortened offseason looking for a third, veteran signal-caller to pair with these two. The goal: not to compete for the starting job but to rather compete and push Kaepernick as the back-up.
The 49ers explored options such as Daunte Culpepper (who they never signed) and Josh McCown (who they cut on Saturday). Now, another option has emerged in the form of Tuesday's shocking announcement that the Jacksonville Jaguars have released quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard, at the age of 33 and with nine years of NFL experience under his belt, is an experienced veteran that has recent NFL experience (neither Culpepper nor McCown has played an NFL game since 2009). Garrard also had one of his best seasons last year: he recorded his second-highest completion percentage figure (64.5%) and his highest touchdown total by far (23, up from his previous career-high of 18) in 2010. He would definitely challenge Kaepernick for the back-up spot.
In addition, Garrard could step in and feel relatively comfortable should something happen to Alex Smith. Why? Frank Gore. Garrard became accustomed to playing off of Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, tossing a handful of passes to his running back every game and letting Jones-Drew wear down defenses with multiple rushes. Gore fits the exact same description and has been using the exact same style since he became the starting running back for the 49ers in 2006. Garrard has plenty of experience playing off of an elite running back, and San Francisco provides him the same set-up that he just left in Jacksonville.
Garrard's future will be determined in the next few days as he scopes out different teams. The 49ers could do themselves a big favor by being active in the hunt and wooing Garrard to the Bay Area.
The NFL has let the 49ers know that Edwards will not be suspended for his driving-while-intoxicated incident last September as a New York Jet, Mindi Bach and Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area report. The league considers the manner closed.
Obviously this case has taken a long time and has left the Niners twisting in the wind over whether if the wide receiver would or would not be cleared for the start of the season. The Niners would probably point at the quick resolution of similar incidents from Kenny Britt and Aqib Talib as evidence of a double standard, but Britt and Talib committed acts that occurred when the CBA was not in effect. Edwards's infraction occurred during the season when the personal conduct policy was still in effect.
In terms of football, the 49ers now have two quality receivers to line up for Alex Smith to throw footballs to, as Edwards (currently listed as co-starter with Ted Ginn) and Josh Morgan should team up with Vernon Davis to provide a decent starting lineup. If Michael Crabtree could get healthy, the Niners could finally have an effective and versatile offense that could get their team places in the moribund NFC West.
For more on Edwards, check out Niners Nation.
David Garrard was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and there are many an NFL team that could use a quarterback like him. One of them is the San Francisco 49ers, who are going into the season with one of the worst QB situations in the league. And it can't hurt that Jim Harbaugh already has a favorable opinion of him.
As pointed out by Matt Maiocco back in January, when he was quarterbacks coach for the Raiders, Harbaugh wrote some spot-on quarterback analyses of Tony Romo (way underrated), Joey Harrington (totally overrated) and Garrard (solid). Oakland still had Rich Gannon at the time, so the Raiders made no move to draft a quarterback, but this type of spot-on evaluation could come in quite handy for the Niners.
What San Francisco needs right now is solid. Nothing spectacular, nothing superb, just flat-out solid. Garrard can give them that, and provide an effective counterbalance in case things go south with Alex Smith at the helm. Are the Niners willing to get him, or will they stand with the status quo?
For more on 49ers football, check out Niners Nation.
Well, that's an exaggeration. It's likely that the NFL will get around to handing their own version of cowboy justice to the San Francisco 49ers free agent signee. Or they'll let him off; NFL justice can be random that way.
There is still no word on whether 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards will miss any games this season under the NFL's personal conduct policy.
NFL has not determined whether Edwards will face a suspension for pleading guilty in July to driving while intoxicated. His guilty plea resolved a case stemming from a police stop nearly a year ago.
A league spokesman said Sunday the case is still under review.
Regardless of whether Edwards deserved punishment, the NFL's dawdling could end up directly impacting the performance of his team. The Niners have no idea whether Edwards will be available for the season opener, and could have precious little flexibility in trying to find a replacement for him if he's forced to sit out games. With the status of Michael Crabtree uncertain as well, San Francisco is heading into Week 1 of the regular season with no picture of the personnel they'll be putting in place in the passing game.
For more on the 49ers and the Edwards situation, check out Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly come to terms on a one year deal with linebacker Tavares Gooden. Gooden was cut by the Ravens on Saturday after they were reportedly unable to come to terms on a trade with the 49ers. The 49ers have not officially announced the move and it remains to be seen who will be released to make room for the newest addition to the team.
The addition comes the same day the 49ers released LB Keaton Kristick to make room for QB Scott Tolzien. Kristick was likely behind Larry Grant at the inside linebacker position and Gooden likely will also be behind Grant at the inside linebacker position for the time being.
As to who might be cut to make room, the 49ers have a bit of an excess of defensive linemen at this point with a backup available at all three positions. While depth is great, it is a tough sell to have that extra defensive lineman who might not be able to sufficiently contribute on special teams.
The 49ers officially announced seven practice squad signings Sunday afternoon. The 49ers have signed C Chase Beeler, T Derek Hall, WR Joe Hastings, CB Cory Nelms, RB Xavier Omon, TE Konrad Reuland and LB Monte Simmons to the practice squad. A team is allowed up to eight players on their practice squad, which means the 49ers have one more spot available.
Xavier Omon earned a spot on the practice squad following a strong preseason in which he rushed 30 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. There was some discussion amongst fans about adding him to the 53-man roster, but that was a bit of Thomas Clayton, Kory Sheets syndrome where a player looks great against third and fourth string players.
As members of the practice squad, these players are part of the 49ers but have the freedom to sign with another team’s 53-man roster at any point. Often a team will give their current squad a chance to sign them first, but there is no obligation.
The San Francisco 49ers have made three additional moves on Sunday. After claiming Scott Tolzien off waivers earlier in the day, the 49ers made a corresponding 53-man roster move by releasing linebacker Keaton Kristick. By claiming Tolzien the 49ers have to add him to the 53-man roster for at least one week, which meant a need to clear out a roster space. Kristick still could end up on the 49ers practice squad as he has another year of PS eligibility.
In other news, the 49ers have continued filling out their practice squad. They reportedly signed outside linebacker Monte Simmons to the squad and released McLeod Bethel-Thompson within about an hour of adding him. That gives the 49ers six players on their practice squad:
C Chase Beeler
TE Konrad Reuland
WR Joe Hastings
CB Cory Nelms
OL Derek Hall
OLB Monte Simmons
The 49ers had signed McBLT to the practice squad, but that might have been while they were awaiting word on their waiver claim of Scott Tolzien. Once they received word they won the Tolzien claim, it made sense to release McBLT.
The San Francisco 49ers completed roster cuts yesterday to get down to a 53-man roster but the work is not yet done. A day after releasing Josh McCown and McCleod Bethel-Thompson, the 49ers have reportedly claimed Scott Tolzien off waivers and signed McBLT to the practice squad. Additionally, the 49ers have reportedly added C Chase Beeler, WR Joe Hastings, CB Cory Nelms, and TE Konrad Reuland to their practice squad. The team is allowed up to eight players on the practice squad.
The 49ers were reportedly interested in Tolzien during the undrafted free agent signing period and apparently it was a tough decision for Tolzien to sign with the Chargers over the 49ers. The Chargers decided to waive the rookie QB and if the reports are true, he is now a member of the 49ers 53-man roster. The question now is who will be released to make room for Tolzien.
One notable cut on this list includes quarterback Josh McCown, who was brought in this offseason to provide a veteran presence amongst quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers made the most cuts at wide receiver, where they released five players.
The 49ers have also placed tight end Nate Byham on injured reserve. The team, after cutting two tight ends, has only two tight ends on the 53-man roster: Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. Brian Jennings is listed as a tight end but is more of a long snapper. The 49ers may look to shore up this position going forward.
San Francisco will begin the 2011 NFL season with this roster. The 49ers first game will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11th at home against the Seattle Seahawks at 1:15 PT. The game will air on FOX.
The San Francisco 49ers have cut cornerback Phillip Adams, according to Matt Maiocco. The 23-year-old product from South Carolina State University spent his first NFL season with the 49ers last season and will have to find a new team.
Adams was selected in the seventh round with the 224th overall pick by the 49ers in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in 15 games last season but did start any of them. Over that span, Adams recorded 13 tackles and one pass deflection.
Adams played with an injured ankle last season, which limited his performance but was not seriously enough to place him on the PUP list. The 49ers' decision could have to do with health concerns.
Adams sent out a single-word tweet earlier today that merely read, "Blessed!" Many thought that this tweet confirmed that he had survived roster cuts and would stay on with the 49ers this season, but it may in fact have been his reaction to the idea of parting ways with the 49ers organization.
The 49ers will continue to tweak their roster as the 2011 NFL season draws closer.
The San Francisco 49ers are a little over an hour away from the 3:00pm eastern deadline for cutting their roster from 80 players to 53. The team has not made any cuts official, but reports have leaked out about a variety of cuts, with agents and players alike tweeting the good or bad news.
The 49ers cuts thus far appear to include QB Josh McCown, S Chris Maragod, WR Dominique Zeigler, WR Joe Hastings, WR Chris Hogan, S Curtis Taylor and C Chase Beeler. Of those players, Hastings and Beeler have reportedly been told the 49ers would like to sign them to the practice squad if they clear waivers. Hastings has flown under the radar in the media, but Beeler has been getting some publicity ever since he helped out in tutoring at Camp Alex over the summer. Beeler played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, so it's not a shocking decision.
It is also interesting to note that the 49ers have decided to keep nose tackle Ian Williams and possibly linebacker Keaton Kristick on the roster. Williams tweeted that he made the roster, while Kristick tweeted "Can't wait to run around candlestick this fall!!!" That isn't confirmation, but I can't imagine many other interpretations of that. Congrats to both on making the roster.
An NFL source has informed Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) that the San Francisco 49ers have released QB Josh McCown. The 49ers entered training camp with Alex Smith and three rookie quarterbacks on the roster. They subsequently signed McCown to bring a veteran presence further down the depth chart. McCown saw no playing time against the Houston Texans but did enter briefly against the San Diego Chargers where he was 4 for 4 for 51 yards.
The 49ers officially named Alex Smith their starting quarterback after the Chargers game, but they are unlikely to enter the season with just Smith and Colin Kaepernick, or even Smith, Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson as their quarterbacks. While Kaepernick is a potential QB of the future, his struggles in the preseason show how much work he still has to do. If Smith were to go down with an injury, the 49ers will need a viable option if they want to remain competitive in 2011.
There will be a host of quarterbacks in free agency after roster cuts today. It would be surprising if the 49ers did not kick the tires on at least one of them.
Hey guys, heard this story before? San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh needs a quarterback, but there's this guy called Alex Smith that everyone wants him to ignore. But Jim Harbaugh really likes Alex Smith a lot and believes he can develop into something special and Niners fans are all like "ARRRRRRGGGGH!"
But then Alex Smith goes out and doesn't look all that great in practice and Niners fans are like "Oh boy we need a guy." Then Harbaugh is all like "Hey how about Josh McNown?" and 49ers fans just get sadder and more depressed.
Harbaugh has more to say today in a radio interview that you can find courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews. Listen to the whole interview here.
As a guy who played as a quarterback in the NFL do you believe Alex Smith can develop into a good, solid, starting quarterback?
"Yes. Yes he can. The things that have occurred over the first seven years of Alex’s career have been good. There has been some tough times, but all those experiences I believe lead to success. You never know what path it is going to take or what’s going to transpire to get Alex and our franchise to where we want to go, so just with continuos effort just keep plugging away and he’s done a great job of that. He’s been mentally tough guy. He’s been physically tough and a strong young man. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and hopefully we are doing everything we can to make our team better and get Alex and us where we want to go."
I don't know you guys. Alex Smith could be the guy, but he also might not be the guy. The Niners might need to really change things up because this isn't the situation you really want, you know what I mean? The Niners should get someone they really believe will make a difference, you know?
For more on the 49ers training camp, go to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers brought some stability to the running back position by signing star running back Frank Gore to a three-year contract extension. The team, by contrast, has some questions concerning wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards that will hopefully be addressed before the start of the 2011 NFL season.
These questions don't have to do with talent, thankfully; they stem from to other football-related topics. For instance, there are doubts about wide receiver Crabtree and his health right now. Crabtree, who was expected to miss the early part of the season after getting surgery on his broken left foot, got off of the PUP list on Tuesday and rejoined the team Wednesday. Crabtree spent most of practice doing individual work.
Questions are swirling right now about whether Crabtree will be ready for the 49ers' season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. But maybe that's looking too far: Crabtree may play this Thursday against the San Diego Chargers. Coach Jim Harbaugh hasn't ruled him out yet, and we won't know the answer to either of these two questions until the games actually take place.
Edwards, who the 49ers went out and acquired this offseason in the wake of Crabtree's injury, is dealing with some doubt of his own. Edwards has not heard from the NFL yet with regards to a DUI from last season. The league says that his case is still under review, and a suspension may be in the works. Edwards' status for the first few games of the season are as uncertain as the timing of Crabtree's return.
The 49ers may not know the answers to these questions just yet, but thankfully these are the types of issues that aren't pressing concerns for a team gearing up for the season. One thing that the 49ers do know: they have a duo of solid receivers to pair with tight end Vernon Davis and quarterback Alex Smith in 2011.
With a new head coach comes a slew of changes to a football team. New assistants, new playbooks, new locker room arrangements; it's like hitting the proverbial reset button on a bunch of routine-driven athletes. It's important to try and keep some things the same among all the unfamiliarity, especially with the pillars of your franchise; such as the San Francisco 49ers and they pro-bowl running back Frank Gore. The contract extension giving to Frank wasn't only a good idea for this year's team, but for many years to come, even after Frank is long retired.
Gore's three-year $21 million dollar deal gives the team some stability behind center as the quaterback position will likely be a question mark for most of the season as the Alex Smith experiment enters it's 24th year. Frank missed the last five games of the season in 2010 but still rushed for 853 yards, although that was under the Mike Singletary "all we do is run" game plan. Gore currently sits only 931 yards shy of Joe 'the Jet' Perry for the all time rushing leader in 49ers history. He could easily overtake that record this year, but he's still got three years to do it.
You can look at his numbers, or you can just watch him play, Frank is probably one of the best RB's this franchise has ever had. He's a fan favorite and a team leader, and it would have looked terrible if the Niners let him walk. He easily could go down as one of the best to ever put on the Red and Gold, become a 49ers legend. Here's what CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco had to say about it.
What makes Gore special is his single-minded drive to be the best all-around running back in the game. He is closing in on the 49ers' all-time rushing record. He has also led the 49ers in receptions during his career...Gore is also willing to do the thankless aspects of his job, most notably his role in picking up blitzes as a pass-protector.
He epitomizes what the team wants from the other 52 players in the locker room.
Any way you slice it, the Niners need Frank Gore. Thankfully they'll have him for the next few years.
For more on the San Francisco 49ers, head over to Niners Nation.
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh fielded questions at a press conference Tuesday, just two days before the 49ers' final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Among other topics, Harbaugh talked about the return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the role of his starters in Thursday's game and the awesomeness of Frank Gore.
Asked about Crabtree and a possible return to the field prior to Thursday's final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Harbaugh had this to say: "We'll see how it comes along. Like I said the other day, we'll see just how quickly he's able to re-acclimate into playing shape, football shape, and back into the flow of playing."
It looks like Crabtree and the 49ers are (wisely) easing Crabtree back into the flow. Don't expect the 49ers to rush Crabtree back and have him play significant minutes on Thursday. If Crabtree does play, he is likely to see just a few snaps in order to avoid any further injury this close to the 2011 season.
Harbaugh may play his starters on the offensive line more often than usual in a preseason finale, though. Harbaugh, addressing the possibility of extend playing time for his linesmen, said, "I think it's possible. We're trying to really hit a count of close to 80 to 100 plays in the preseason. We can't predict exactly how it's going to go but it will be more predicated on that than anything else."
It seems interesting that Harbaugh has a set goal of snaps in mind for his linesmen. Nevertheless, this may turn out to be the best method of preparation for the regular season since team scrimmages can only help so much.
Finally, Harbaugh had only positive words for running back Frank Gore, and this quote comes before the news of Gore's new three-year, $21 million extension: "The guy is awesome. Somebody should do a movie. Somebody should do the Frank Gore story, because it's an awesome story."
I can only imagine that Harbaugh is happier now that Gore has signed the extension. Harbaugh gets to work with a happy, content Gore as the season draws closer.
The 49ers will take on the Chargers at 7:00 Pacific Time on Thursday. The game will be played in San Diego.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards still has no idea if the NFL is going to be punishing him for a DUI charge from 2010. Commissioner Roger Goodell, arbiter of justice, has yet to give Edwards any word on whether he'll be playing or not come opening week. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports.
Edwards said he hasn't met with Commissioner Roger Goodell or even heard from the league office regarding a possible suspension stemming from a DUI last season. "I've had no contact whatsoever," Edwards said.
Asked if he thinks that's good news, Edwards said, "Everybody asks me the question. I don't know. I don't know what's going on. It's pretty much on the league. I'd prefer if people don't ask me that question because I don't know."
Asked if there was anything to report regarding possible disciplinary action for Edwards, a league spokesman, in an email, wrote, "No. Nothing to report on that."
A 2009 report by Yahoo Sports indicated that drunk driving was a prevalent problem in the league. The NFL has hardly been consistent in the past when it comes to handing out DUI suspensions. Rey Maualuga of the Cincinnati Bengals received some punishment from the law, but was not forced to miss any games; Vincent Jackson of the San Diego Chargers received a three game suspension for his second DUI incident. Since this is Edwards's first DUI, it's possible the NFL might let this conviction slide by without any additional punishment from the league. However, his past history of transgressions also could make the league think a suspension is warranted. Also, the act occurred before the lockout, so his actions do fall under the NFL's enforcement window.
The 49ers play the Seahawks the opening week, and could be down both Edwards and Michael Crabtree if the former is suspended and the latter is not properly healed. This could leave the Niners with Josh Morgan and a bunch of new, young faces outside, which would provide very little help for Alex Smith.
Crabtree joined the quarterbacks for the first drills of practice in which they take short drop backs and then fire passes off to the side. Crabtree typically took two steps before turning around and catching passes. He caught a few more passes at half speed before heading to a side field and joining Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) and Reggie Smith (knee) in their rehabilitation.
It appears Crabtree still has a ways to go before getting back to full speed while recovering from a broken foot he suffered in June. Crabtree started 15 games for the 49ers last season and caught 55 passes for 741 yards and 6 touchdowns. He should be an integral part of the Niners' offense this year if healthy so fans are hoping for the best from the 2009 10th pick overall. This is the third consecutive preseason in which Crabtree has missed time.
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
It's that time of year again and the 49ers made seven cuts to their roster today to get down to the required 80 players. The unfortunate bubble guys that missed the cut are the following:
Probably the most notable is linebacker Scott McKillop. McKillop was a 5th round pick in 2009 out of Pitt and quickly earned a key backup role for the 49ers in his first two seasons. McKillop tore his ACL last season during a practice in August, and has been rehabbing it since. He hasn't been the same since suffering that injury and unfortunately didn't have a spot on the roster.
McKillop is probably not done in the NFL. A lot of the time, ACL injuries take upwards of two years to fully recover from, so here's to hoping he can rehab in the meantime and catch on with an NFL club down the line. When his knee has healed fully and he regains the speed and explosiveness that made him such a great special teams player and backup linebacker for the 49ers, I'm sure he'll get a look or two.
The cutting of punter Sam Paulescu seems to indicate that Andy Lee has recovered enough from his hip pointer injury to play this Thursday.
The San Francisco 49ers and the rest of the NFL have a Tuesday deadline to make their first official roster cuts of 2011. Originally the rules required teams to cut down to 75 players, but the rule was changed to 80 for this season. Teams will make final roster cuts down to the regular season 53-man roster this weekend following the conclusion of the preseason schedule.
As the 49ers make their initial roster cuts, undrafted free agents and some first and second year street free agents are unlikely to last through Tuesday. Some of the undrafted free agents that could get cut include:
Among the fairly "green" veterans on the roster, some potential cuts include:
The ten cuts on Tuesday will include many of these players. However, it is also possible the cuts could include more veteran players. One player who pops to mind is fullback Moran Norris. He is a Frank Gore favorite and has a good chance of making the roster. At the same time, the coaching staff likely knows as much as they'll ever know about Norris. If they wanted to give some additional playing time this Thursday to a younger, less known player, it would make sense to cut Norris and provide that additional time. Additionally, cutting Norris now gives him a couple extra days to latch on with another team.
This is not to say Norris or other established veterans will get a pink slip Thursday. In fact, I would argue if Norris survives Tuesday's cut, he is likely to survive this weekend's cut. If the team still wants to keep him around after Tuesday, I'm not sure how much can change before the final cuts this weekend.
Now that Taylor Mays is out of his crosshairs, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can get back to dealing with the true pro defenders who'll be suiting up for him in 2011. There are lots of talented individuals out there, but only several of them are standing out to be main players on this team.
Fangio spoke with the media today, and you can listen to the full audio here. Here are some of the issues raised.
The free safety position appears to now be a three-way battle between Madieu Williams, Dashon Goldson, and Reggie Smith (whenever he returns). Fangio will have to figure out who's lining up with strong safety Donte Whitner to deal with deep coverage responsibilities, although some of his comments indicate he has a favorable opinion of Madieu.
What are you seeing out of Madieu besides those turnovers he’s created the last couple of games? What’s he doing?
"He’s played solidly. He’s tackled well. He’s, for the most part, been in the spots where he needs to be. I think he’s a smart player. He’s experienced. I think he’s got some experience and wisdom that a guy that’s played as long as he has carries with it. I’ve been overall pleased with his progress so far. He’s gotten better and better each and every week."
You mention he tackles well. He had a neck injury a few years back and there was some concern that he wasn’t as aggressive since then. Have you seen any result of that injury?
"No. Pleasantly, we have not seen any residue from his neck injury of a couple of years ago where that’s lingering in the back of his mind and has made him any less aggressive at all, and that’s been a positive."
Whitner's apparently in charge of quarterbacking the secondary, with Patrick Willis taking the radio to relay calls to the entire defense. None of this should be a big surprise, considering the two are among the best defenders on the Niners.
Rookie linebacker Aldon Smith is one of those players that figures to feature prominently in the rotation, but Fangio still believe he has some work to do before he makes the starting lineup.
What does LB Aldon Smith have to do to make you comfortable as him as an every down type of linebacker?
"He’s just got to learn his position better. That sounds like a simple statement, but it’s a tall task for a guy coming from college who’s played defensive end and defensive tackle to now having to be a stand up linebacker and get around pass key and drop in the right spots in zone coverage, and pick up routes accordingly the way you see them picked up. So it’s a major undertaking that he’s going through right now. Once he gets comfortable with that and can execute, then we’ll feel more comfortable with it."
There are a lot of young promising players on the cusp of making the roster, but could just as easily find themselves out of a job when the final roster is announced. Such is life in the NFL preseason, where dreams are generally dashed.
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
There it is, spelled out above. Safety Taylor Mays was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in the same way a dude trades you three Snickers bar for one. Geoff Hobson of the Cincinnati Bengals team website Bengals.com snuck this into their latest news release.
That means the Bengals can now keep 10 in the secondary. Could it shake down with five corners (Trent, Jennings, Clements, Leon Hall and
Jonathan Wade) and five safeties ( Chris Crocker, Reggie Nelson, Gibril Wilson, Robert Sands, Taylor Mays)?
They exchanged a seventh-round pick in 2013 with the 49ers for Mays last week. Jennings becomes the fourth Bengals first-rounder in the secondary, joining Hall, Clements and Nelson.
Oh boy. If the Mays disaster didn't look bad before, it really does now. Mays was once considered a promising athlete with the typical NFL speed to play at safety. But apparently he lacked other qualities, and now he got sent away for a distant draft pick in a distant round that the Niners might never even use.
New 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was never a big fan of Mays, but his voicing displeasure over his performance probably lowered his trade value a thousand times over. Perhaps next time, the 49ers would be best served keeping quiet about their players before they decide to shop them on the market. If you're going to throw someone under the bus, better make sure he's still not on the bus. Because that's a Schrodinger's Cat-type scenario there, and you can never be sure if you actually traded him or if you didn't.
Anyway, the 49ers have a seventh round draft pick in 2013. That could be really useful for trading for other seventh round draft picks.
For more on the 49ers and the Mays trade, discuss it at Niners Nation.
After the beatdown in week one, it was really easy for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to explain away the offensive woes, most notably those of the offensive line. The Saints blitzed an awful lot more than one would expect in the preseason (especially in week one), and the team had only been practicing for twelve days - some players only had for five or six days. In short, Harbaugh noted that the team had looked worse a week before and should look better a week later.
Well the Oakland Raiders came to town and the 49ers did look a lot better: they stopped the blitz and protected their quarterbacks, and everybody figured Harbaugh was on to something. Now after week three, it's up in the air as to whether or not the 49ers simply looked good in week two because it was ... well, the Oakland Raiders. That's not to say Oakland has a terrible defense, just that they were disappointing, something they've been prone to do lately. Or maybe the 49ers offensive linemen were just on in week two, but whatever it was, Harbaugh has some more explaining to do.
Because the Texans abused the offensive line once again. It wasn't a pretty site, especially considering the fact that they didn't aggressively blitz like Greg Williams and the Saints did - they were just consistently winning their battles one-on-one against the 49ers offensive linemen. Alex Smith had quite literally no time to complete any passes. He was hit on five of eight dropbacks, and only was able to complete passes on a three-step drop and a designed rollout to the right side.
As noted by Eric Branch of the Chronicle, when Harbaugh was asked about the offensive line's woes this time around, he didn't beat around the bush:
It really was not real complicated what they were doing up front," Harbaugh said. "But they were getting us, they were beating us.
Colin Kaepernick didn't have an easy time behind the line, either. Rookie jitters probably played a part in his propensity to panic and make errant throws and have a predisposition to tuck-and-run at the first sign of pressure, but rookie jitters are probably severely intensified playing behind an offensive line that has shown they're less of a bank vault and more of a revolving door.
So all of this bad offensive line play is mucking up the rest of the offense and the coach's ability to determine who should stay and who should go. Who should be San Francisco's starting quarterback? Is it Alex Smith, who was only able to complete two passes without being hit by marauding Texans? Or is it Colin Kaepernick, who looked every bit the scared freshman out there on the field at Candlestick?
Essentially, this means what we all saw in week one was a lot more than "not enough practice time", and changes need to be made. Free agent signee Jonathan Goodwin hasn't fit the billing of former Pro Bowl center, while supposedly deeply-ingrained starters like Joe Staley and Mike Iupati were getting beaten with regularity. At any rate, Harbaugh's excuses will no longer hold up, as he himself noted above. Look for some shuffling to occur in week four, before the regular season begins.
So for those wondering about what injury Michael Crabtree suffered that held him out of training camp all offseason. It's a left foot stress fracture, a source told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Yep, it's the same left foot stress fracture injury that he suffered during the NFL combine in February 2009, the same foot where he had surgery and a screw was inserted. It's not clear if he required another screw insertion, but he was in a boot and apparently had surgery before training camp started. His status for Week 1 of the NFL season is up in the air.
Crabtree is a criticial component to the resurgence of San Francisco football. The Niners are clearly stretched thin at the receiving corps with Braylon Edwards and Josh Morgan the only two reliable options right now, which limits the packages San Francisco can run on offense. Crabtree provides more versatility and gives San Francisco TWO solid options in Edwards and Crabtree who can run the entire receiving tree with deadly effectiveness.
David Fucillo points out at Niners Nation how important Crabtree is in the short passing game, and how he can force defenses to commit extra men to pass defense in ways that neither Edwards nor Morgan can do. That would also decrease the amount of blitzing opposing defenses can send at Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. With the makeshift offensive line the Niners are currently sporting, any relief of the pressure could be a boon to the sputtering San Francisco offense.
But a second stress fracture to the same foot would make anyone a little cautious. The Niners might be best waiting and seeing Crabtree at 100% rather than rushing him back and impairing his overall football health.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh held a conference call after last night's Texans-49ers debacle, and there wasn't much he was positive about concerning the performance, particularly regarding the offense. He referred to the offensive performance as akin to "being violated", even though the Texans defensive scheme wasn't all that complex from his viewpoint.
Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Sunday afternoon in a conference call with reporters if Crabtree would be cleared to begin practice this week.
"We'll see," Harbaugh said. "It's possible."
Crabtree sustained an undisclosed left foot injury on June 6 while running routes during a players-led workout at San Jose State. He has not been seen running full-speed routes since that time.
Harbaugh has said Crabtree has been "outstanding" in meetings and with his understanding of the offense. And once Crabtree is cleared to practice, Harbaugh said he'll be making a quick evaluation to see how he envisions the No. 10 overall pick of the 2009 draft fitting into the offense.
"Everything in terms as it reales to his position and how quickly he can get back to full speed and get caught up with the rest of the unit," Harbaugh said.
With both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick struggling to make the offense go, Crabtree's return becomes all the more important. The 49ers offense needs all their weapons on the field to provide effective offense, and Crabtree is perhaps the most crucial cog.
Additionally, the 49ers have yet to resolve the center battle. Adam Synder has been starting most games, but Jonathan Goodwin has also been taking snaps at the position. Having the quarterbacks deal with two separate centers has to be an additional burden to deal with.
I wouldn't count the Niners quarterbacking situation as a lost cause quite yet; Crabtree and a firm starting center could do a lot to help alleviate offensive woes. If there are still clear deficiencies, then it might be time for Harbaugh to reconsider what he should do with the quarterbacking position.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh recently met with the media and discussed various issues surrounding the team. Here are some of the highlights:
Q: With guys like WR Michael Crabtree and CB Shawntae Spencer who you haven't coached, you haven't seen in the offseason, you haven't seen on the practice field, how do you work what you're going to do with them, how do you do that with these guys?
A: "Well, you go off of previous tape, both of those players have played in the league and played a high level. You can go off of that. The other thing you go off of is what they're absorbing, what they're retaining out on the field and in meetings. There's a level that you can evaluate there. Poor, medium, outstanding, so that you can predict how they will fit in once they're healthy.
Assuming those players are healthy for the start of the season, all eyes will be on the coaching staff and how their philosophies will differ from previous staffs.
Q: How interchangeable are your receiver slots? Can you move WR Braylon Edwards to either side or do you like a guy to be a set X, a set Y, whatever?
A: "Well, Y is the tight end position. But you'd like to have as much versatility as possible in terms of a guy being able to play X or Z and the slot."
Q: Speaking of the Y position, what's TE Vernon Davis shown you in these two games as well as through training camp?
A: "I'm really pleased with Vernon. I like watching Vernon practice. I like watching him play. He's tremendously explosive. He's a blue collar guy when it comes to work on the practice field, in the weight room, in the meetings. He's a pro, a true pro all the way."
This sounds like the Vernon Davis that 49ers fans have been blown away by (when healthy, of course) the past few seasons. His strong play will be crucial to the offense's success.
Q: Is Alex Smith starting on Saturday?
A: "He is."
Q: And play like half, maybe start another series in the second half, that type of thing?
A: "No, I don't think that's the way it's going to go. I think [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] will get in fairly early, and I'd like to see Colin play with some of the ones after two series. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes you have to see how long was the first series, how long was the second series? But fairly early into the game.
Definitely something to keep an eye on this weekend. With no starter officially announced for the regular season, a big game from either quarterback could change this dramatically.
Q: Will Alex return to the game after he exits?
A: "That's possible, that's possible. Like I said earlier in the week, you really want to get your starters in as many situational type of situations in the game as possible, and he may return for two minute drill or another series, you know, could be. Just got to see how it plays out and make a battlefield decision out there, but I'd like to get some backed up. I'd like to get some two minute with Alex."
Also something to keep an eye on.
Q: When are you going to announce cuts, after this week, after next week?
A: "Next Tuesday and next Saturday."
The season is almost here, folks. Just a few weeks away.
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The San Francisco 49ers have generated 20 total points of offense through their first two preseason games. The team looked solid in Saturday's 17-3 win against the Oakland Raiders, but the 49ers still has work to do and will strive to make significant improvements in their offense before the season begins. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman talked about several offensive players during a press conference prior to Wednesday's practice.
One of the first questions addressed to Roman concerned newly acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards and why he has yet to start a game in the preseason. Roman seems to have high hopes for Edwards and states that it's only a matter of time before Edwards starts; "Braylon, I would define as, he could be a difference maker. As he keeps improving and working into the offense, it's just like anybody else, his role will expand."
Asked about another new player, center Jonathon Goodwin, and whether he will see more snaps with the first unit, Roman commented on Goodwin's progress through training camp and his real understanding of the game. In Roman's words, "Jonathan is really making some good strides. He is a steady ‘Rock of Gibraltar' type guy. He doesn't say a whole lot, in terms of being vocal all the time, but you want to talk about a smart guy; he's kind of like E.F. Hutton in a sense that when he talks, people listen."
Roman had high praise for tight end Vernon Davis as well, who has posted 900+ yards in each of the past two seasons. According to Roman, he's quite the athlete and competitor: "Vernon is very explosive. He can go from zero to sixty when he needs to. He can rev up the engine in a hurry. Vernon is a great person, great to work with, very attentive, very much interested in the details of things, always looking for a way to get better."
Finally, Roman talked about his expectations for the offense on Saturday night and the 49ers' third preseason game. Asked about what he wants to see improve the most, he responded, "It's everything. It's everything. We need to get better at everything in a hurry. From the huddle to getting to the ball, our communication, our blocking, our courses in the run game, our route running, everything."
The 49ers will get a chance to show what their first-team is capable of in Saturday's game against the Houston Texans. Starters should play for most of the first half and a chunk of the second half, and we'll see if Roman can get his guys to improve their all-around offensive play. The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 ET.
Cloherty had been with the team since last October when he was signed to the team’s practice squad, then in December signed with the team and suited up for the final two games of the regular season in 2010. He made it this far in training camp on grit and determination alone, but had a lot of other talented players at the position to have to deal with, falling short of being a 49er for the 2011 regular season. That leaves Konrad Reuland and Nate Lawrie vying for the third TE spot on the roster
Cloherty is a graduate of Brown University where he made the All Ivy-League squad in both his 2007 and 2008 seasons.
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The San Francisco 49ers are two games into the preseason with a 1-1 record. The team is preparing for the Houston Texans this week, and Coach Jim Harbaugh fielded several questions during a press conference to talk about the team's next game and other topics.
Asked about the quarterback situation, Harbaugh stated that he would not name a starter until before the first regular season game, responding positively about both of his top two quarterbacks. With regards to Alex Smith, Harbaugh feels that Smith is showing a lot of effort as the season approaches. In his words, "I think he's throwing the football pretty darn good. He's working hard on every phase of playing the position."
With regards to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Harbaugh has been impressed with the adjustments the young rookie made from Week 1 to Week 2 of the preseason: "From game one to game two, there's just more polish that's taken place in terms of how he operates the offense, runs the team in and out of the huddle, mechanics, accuracy, being it the ability to drive the football, to read coverage."
Harbaugh also addressed the team's plan for Friday's third preseason game against the Texans. In Harbaugh's words, "Well, traditionally, historically, the third preseason game in the National Football League, is the game that you game plan like you would in the regular season, where starters play the entire first half, come out of the halftime playing to the third quarter." Harbaugh later confirmed that this is the strategy he hopes to employ on Friday night.
It appears that the 49ers will start developing continuity amongst their starters this week, with the players expected to play the entire first half and part of the second half. Friday's contest should provide a good measure of the team's readiness for their regular season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 11th.
49ers punter Andy Lee was back on the practice field Tuesday booting some practice punts prior to the formal practice. Lee suffered a hip injury Saturday against the Raiders during a botched field goal attempt and there were questions about the severity of the injury. All indications are that it was some sort of hip pointer that is painful, but shouldn’t cost him regular season playing time.
The 49ers did sign another punter, Sam Paulescu, in part because there really is no need to put Andy Lee in the line of fire the rest of the preseason. Lee is an all-world punter and the 49ers know exactly what he brings to the table, such that preseason games are not particularly necessary outside of getting loose.
More importantly, although David Akers booted a nice little punt on Saturday, the site of him having a punt blocked on a personnel miscue (only ten men on the field) cannot leave the 49ers particularly comfortable. Accordingly, Paulescu will likely get all the punts this Saturday against Houston, and possible next week against San Diego. In the meantime, Andy Lee continues to stay loose at practice.
The San Francisco 49ers have traded safety Taylor Mays to the Cincinnati Bengals for an undisclosed draft pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The two sides part ways after what has to be considered an interesting few weeks for Mays.
The 49ers reportedly emailed every single team in the league earlier this preseason about Mays, stating that they would be more than willing to trade the young safety. The offer was met with zero interest at the time, but the incident clearly indicated that the 49ers did not plan to keep Mays around for the future.
San Francisco drafted Mays in the second round (49th overall pick) of the 2010 NFL Draft upon the urging of then-head coach Mike Singletary. Singletary has since been replaced by Jim Harbaugh, and the team apparently changed its position on Singletary's young project upon his departure.
Mays played in all 16 games last season, recording 38 tackles and deflecting two passes. The 49ers are set to receive an undisclosed draft pick from the Bengals as part of the deal.
The 49ers made several roster moves Monday afternoon as they prepare for Saturday’s contest against the Houston Texans. The most prominent move was the activation of wide receiver Dominique Zeigler from the Physically Unable to Perform List. Zeigler was placed on the PUP list July 28 while he continued his recovery from an ACL injury. The 49ers will continue to have stiff competition at the wide receiver position and Zeigler will have to work especially hard to make a dent in the competition.
The 49ers also signed punter Sam Paulesco to handle camp punting duties while Andy Lee recovers from a hip pointer. Lee suffered the injury after a botched field goal attempt resulted in a hard fall. He made one more FG hold, but kicker David Akers handled punting duties the rest of the game. After seeing one of those punts blocked, it’s not at all surprising that the 49ers are bringing in a punter for the next couple weeks.
The 49ers also waived QB Jeremiah Masoli and kicker Fabrizio Scaccia. Masoli became expendable when the team decided to add QB Josh McCown. Now that McCown has a few days to learn some basics in the playbook, it’s likely that he or McLeod Bethel-Thompson will handle third string QB duties.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was on conference call this afternoon with Bay Area media. Naturally, one of the first topics that came up was the status of contract negotiations with free agent tailback Frank Gore. Eric Branch of Niner Insider for the San Francisco Chornicle has more.
Q: There have been a couple of national reports that Frank Gore is unhappy with his contract extension/negotiations. One suggested he might even go for a trade. Has he approached you? Do you sense that unhappiness in him?
JH: No, I don't sense unhappiness in Frank.
Q: Has there been any contract talk with him recently?
JH: Even the things that you just alluded to -- reports, conversations, talking points, things you're asking me right now. It all is and sounds like water-cooler talk to me right now and I'm just not interested in it, in the water-cooler talk.
When it comes to quarterbacks? Things are still as murky as ever.
How he approaches naming his starting QB for Week 1: "Week by week."
So Alex Smith has gone from being the big favorite to entering holding patterns with Colin Kaepernick and Josh McNown. Things can only look up from here.
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According to a tweet from ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter Frank Gore is not too happy with the progress he and the Niners may or may not have been making thus far in the negotiation process:
While talks between Chris Johnson and Titans are at standstill, negotiations between Frank Gore and 49ers are going slowly. Gore frustrated.less than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet ReplyAdam Schefter
The 28 year old Gore is coming off of one of the worst statistical years of his career as well as a broken hip that took him out of the last few games in 2010, but is still asking for more money. Gore and the Niners will probably squabble with one another for a while about this, with Gore’s level of production in question with all of the factors against him; he’s got a struggling O-Line, he’s already 28 years old, not much for backups to help him out, and he just broke a hip.
Gore will still be a great back in this league, but his contract should be fitting for a 28 year old injury prone back, not a in-his-prime workhorse.
This preseason might be more important for the San Francisco 49ers than any in recent memory. With the brief offseason, so many positions are still up in the air. Week one didn't answer as many questions as one would have liked, but things will be re-shuffled on many fronts. Not only do teams have to figure out their depth chart, they have to decide which players are even considered bubble players, without any pre-preseason practices to go by. So let's take a look at the most important battles to keep your eye on against the Raiders.
Almost everything is up in the air here. Jonathan Goodwin is looking to assert his place at center, while Adam Snyder will likely look to the new and improved Chilo Rachal and the right guard position for his new home. There's a lot of reports right now about Rachal working hard this offseason, but he won't have the benefit of Mike Singletary favoring him for seemingly no reason this season - if Snyder is the right guy for the job, he'll show it on Saturday and win it.
Also on the offensive line is Alex Boone - he's looking to start. He wants to, and if he plays as well at right tackle against the Raiders as he did at left tackle against the Saints, then Anthony Davis had better be on notice, draft position last season be damned. The 49ers plan to move the entire line around and make sure everybody can play the opposite side, with an emphasis on Boone.
Rookie Kendall Hunter looked better than second-year running back Anthony Dixon in week one, but "Boobie" will be looking to re-assert himself. They're battling for the immediate backup position behind Frank Gore, a position that promises carries. Gore is the focal point of the offense, to be sure, but Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman will likely look to limit him here and there, what with his injury history.
As stated, Hunter looked better. He had better burst, he got more yardage, and he simply looked ready. Dixon hesitated a lot, he looked like he wasn't ready for a game. He danced around back there, after catching a screen, he looked one way, then the other, and then got tackled for a loss. That screen was executed perfectly otherwise, and should have went for at least five yards.
But it didn't, that's something that Dixon needs to get his grip on. Hunter, the rookie, looked like he's a veteran, while Dixon, the second-year player, looked like he'd never seen NFL action before. That may or may not continue on Saturday.
One has to assume that Shawntae Spencer and Carlos Rogers will be the starters, but everything behind that is open. Against the Saints, Tramaine Brock started while Spencer sat out. This is a stark contrast to last season, where Brock seemed to take up a roster spot and nothing more. Under Vic Fangio, Brock seems to have leapfrogged Tarell Brown.
But not just yet. Brown is fighting, and has the talent to compete and be the nickel corner. The battle between him and Brock will be showcased on Saturday. Nobody really knows how that one is going to go, as Brock is an unknown commodity at this point. He looked good against the Saints, but he did completely lose coverage early on, and there would have been another score on the board for New Orleans if the wide open receiver hadn't dropped the pass. Don't forget about rookie Chris Culliver, either.
The San Francisco 49ers have needed some quarterbacks, and Josh McCown is certainly the type of guy the Niners could use back there. His experience and savvy give him the mettle to succeed in a position where quarterbacks have gone on to earn the immortal title of "unable to unseat Alex Smith as the starter."
Can McCown get past that label? He'll definitely have an ally in the coaching chair in quarterback Geep Chryst. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has more.
On how he ended up with the 49ers:
"I have a relationship with Geep Chryst, the quarterbacks coach, because he drafted me in Arizona. So way back in like January we talked and said, hey it would be fun to hook up again iof it works out. And I just kind of kept working out and staying ready and eventually started to pursue high school coaching in North Carolina. I was enjoying that, and this door was opened. So I'm excited about that."
McCown didn't get off to a swimming start (Dashon Goldson picked him off twice), but it's still rather early in the process to come to a judgment on McCown. We can come to judgment in the next preseason game after McCown throws two interceptions against the twos and threes of the Oakland Raiders. Then it'll be time to panic, because panicking is what NFL fans do best!
For more on the 49ers, go to Niners Nation.
In 2010, the 49ers spent two first-round draft picks on offensive linemen. Anthony Davis was taken at number eleven, and Mike Iupati was selected six picks later at seventeen. They both were named immediate starters, with Iupati beating David Baas and Davis beating Adam Snyder. For the earlier pick, Davis, it was a rocky year, but he showed a lot - just not with any consistency. For Iupati, it was a great year essentially from start to finish.
Iupati remains the only player currently on the 49ers roster with his place essentially guaranteed. Short of moving over to right guard for lack of a better option, Iupati is starting at left guard in 2011. The team has all the confidence in the world when it comes to him. But beyond that, everything else is questionable.
Alex Boone played well at left tackle against the Saints, much better than Joe Staley did, but he was on the second team. Boone is now lining up at right tackle at times in practice (just one of many new configurations) and it's part of what Jim Harbaugh said is required of his guys: they need to be able to flip over to cover the other side. So Boone is just showing his versatility, but could he be competing?
You bet he is.
Jim Harbaugh wants the best five guys in their best five spots. Davis' draft status a year ago is a non-issue for Harbaugh, if the new-and-improved Boone shows something, then that's that. Stayley isn't safe on the left side from Boone, either. But if he were to lose his spot to Boone, you can bet Staley would be in the running for the right side. Is a radical change like this likely? Probably not, but Harbaugh is sincere when he says the best five will be out there.
At the center position, one has to feel like Jonathan Goodwin will be that guy, even if Adam Snyder is still the "starter." Goodwin has been a Pro Bowler, and just needs to get acclimated into the system. Fumbling two snaps to Alex Smith on Wednesday certainly doesn't help his case, but he's probably set. One reason that supports that is the fact that Adam Snyder is getting some work at right guard.
This has been the case for awhile now. Snyder has played everywhere on the line, and his best games came last year at right guard, starting in place of Chilo Rachal. It's not necessarily that Mike Singletary picked the worst guy for the job in Rachal, but it did appear that he had a little bias, because Snyder pretty clearly looked better. So the right guard position is the one that's most wide open.
Either way, when the Raiders come to town, look for these guys to play multiple positions.
Well, it looks like the brief flirtation with Daunte Culpepper was all for naught, unless the San Francisco 49ers intend to have a battle for the third spot on the quarterback depth chart, as Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet reports that the team has inked Josh McCown. As noted, either of the two would have been third on the depth chart, with virtually no chance to sniff a starting gig. Apparently Culpepper does not fit in the team's plans, despite a reportedly good workout with the team.
Josh McCown comes in as the third, expecting to take a few snaps in the preseason so it's not just Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith getting beat up behind a struggling offensive line, and should enter the regular season carries on the team's roster, as neither McLeod Bethel-Thompson nor Jeremiah Masoli inspire much confidence in an emergency backup role.
McCown spent 2010 on the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League, which is probably a good thing - he wanted to stay active. He led the league with a 79.3 passer rating, starting all eight games and completing 114-of-202 passes, good for 1,463 yards and 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Veteran quarterback led the UFL in passer rating during 2010 season (79.3)... Started all eight games for Hartford last season, and completed 114-of-202 passes for 1,463 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Colonials went 3-5 with McCown at the helm in 2010.
Linebacker Aaron Maybin, whose agent expressed interest in the 49ers earlier today, has decided to go in a different direction, according to Matt Maiocco. The third-year player was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Monday and is looking for a new team for the upcoming season.
Maybin was the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was a great pass rusher at Penn State, but has had trouble translating his rushing abilities to the NFL. In his two seasons, Maybin has recorded a total of 24 tackles and one forced fumble. Noticeably missing from those stats, however, is sacks. Maybin has yet to record his first NFL sack through 27 NFL games.
The 49ers don't have a glaring need at linebacker since they do have Parys Haralson and Aldon Smith. The team did cut third string linebacker Thaddeus Gibson on Monday, though it appears that he will be replaced with new addition Antawn Applewhite. The 49ers will look to address a more pressing need at quarterback as the preseason continues.
The San Francisco 49ers are prepared to move forward without signing veteran quarterback Daunte Culpepper, according to Tim Kawakami. This does not mean that the 49ers are no longer searching for another quarterback, since they still are. It merely means that the team is willing to look elsewhere to add some depth at the quarterback position.
Culpepper had a workout with the 49ers on Monday. Though the two sides did not strike up a deal afterwards, Culpepper made it known that he would stay in the Bay Area for some time. At that point, a potential deal looked promising. Now, however, it appears that the two parties may split ways as the 49ers continue their search for a veteran signal caller.
At the moment, San Francisco will start Alex Smith at quarterback with Colin Kaepernick as the backup. The 49ers are looking for a veteran quarterback to fill the No. 3 spot, according to Matt Maiocco. This move, if and when the team actually does sign someone, could be instrumental in the grooming of Kaepernick. The young rookie would be able to observe and learn from a veteran during practice without being passive, since Kaepernick would be competing directly against the veteran for the No. 2 spot.
Hence, the 49ers' quest to sign a quarterback continues. The team has not ruled out the possibility of signing Culpepper but is ready to consider other options as well as this point.
San Francisco appears to be one of the destinations that free agent linebacker Aaron Maybin has interest in signing with, according to the San Francisco Bee's Matt Barrows. Maybin was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Monday, which is the same day that the 49ers parted ways with their linebacker Thaddeus Gibson.
Maybin, 23, is a third-year player who spent his first two seasons with the Bills. The Penn State product was drafted in the first round with the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Maybin had a decent rookie season, playing in all 16 regular season games while recording 18 tackles and one forced fumble. However, Maybin dropped off a bit last season when he played only 11 games and recorded only six tackles.
The Bills didn't get quite the defensive player they envisioned when they drafted Maybin, who was an impressive pass rusher at Penn State. Maybin, however, is still very young and could show progress in a different city. He is interested in the 49ers and a deal could prove mutually beneficial to both sides.
Some folks are saying it's likely the 49ers sign Daunte Culpepper for a one-year deal, others are saying that they're in no hurry to put pen to paper. Whatever the case, fans of the team need not worry about having him as their starting quarterback. That might sound a little bad to say, but it's the truth: he's far away from being at his best. He's far away from being on the downside of his career.
Culpepper in the NFL recently has been unsuccessful. Culpepper in the UFL recently has been unsuccessful. He's not starter material, but he does know how to play the position, and at the very least, he has more to offer by his veteran presence alone than Jeremiah Masoli and McLeod Bethel-Thompson do combined. If he's in shape, then he's athletic and has a good arm, with somewhat questionable decision-making. We're talking, of course, about his decision-making on the field, not his dietary choices.
So even though Alex Smith didn't show a whole lot in the first preseason game, and Colin Kaepernick certainly didn't look ready to take over the starting job, it's a two-man race. Culpepper isn't going to start, he isn't going to compete to start, and he might not even be signed. He's a veteran guy who might be able to help the young guy, and might be able to take the field in a pinch.
He's also another body to get hit if the 49ers need to save Smith and Kaepernick in the preseason. No more, no less.
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper worked out with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, and some expected the 34-year old veteran to sign with the 49ers as a backup for Alex Smith. Though nothing has happened yet, Culpepper will remain in San Francisco, according to Matt Maiocco.
Culpepper has spent 11 seasons in the NFL, playing for four teams during that time span. He spent seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings (1999-2005) before spending one season each with the Miami Dolphins (2006) and the Oakland Raiders (2007). Culpepper spent two more seasons with the Detroit Lions (2008-2009).
The 49ers are considering Culpepper as a backup to quarterback Alex Smith. Currently, rookie Colin Kaepernick sits behind Smith on the QB depth chart. San Francisco would like to shore up its depth at signal caller with a veteran, and Culpepper seems to fit that bill.
Though no deal has been made yet between 49ers and, the fact that Culpepper will remain in town seems to suggest that there is mutual interest between the two parties. There is no guarantee that a deal will be made, but Culpepper's decision to remain in San Francisco could lead to negotiation talks between the two sides.
According to Matt Maiocco, Alex Smith received twice as many reps as Colin Kaepernick during Monday's practice. This development is a good sign for the San Francisco 49ers and shows that the team is not being hasty in response to their disappointing 24-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Friday. The 49ers did not find consistent quarterback production out of either Smith or Kapernick during the game, and the decision seems to indicate that the team is sticking steadfast to Smith as the likely starter.
In addition to receiving twice as many reps as Kaepernick overall, Smith received 40 first-team reps while Kaepernick received only four. Again, the 49ers are showing a vote of confidence in Smith, which should only boost his morale as the preseason continues.
The problem of poor quarterback production does not rest solely on the two quarterbacks, however. The offensive line showed some poor protection during Friday's game and allowed the Saints to pile up six total sacks. The linemen need to do a better job of protecting the quarterback, and extra reps with Smith should help the linemen do just that as the 49ers' second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders approaches on Saturday.
The San Francisco 49ers have waived linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Gibson, who spent a portion of last season with the team, was initially listed as a third string linebacker for the 49ers in their preseason depth chart behind Parys Haralson and Aldon Smith. The addition of Antawn Applewhite, however, seems to have sealed Gibson's fate with the team as Applewhite is poised to replace him.
The 23-year-old Gibson will enter his second year in the league after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He did not receive any playing time however and was cut by the team. The Ohio State product later signed with the 49ers and appeared in the final two games of the season against the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals. He recorded three tackles and one forced fumble in limited action.
Gibson was present for the 49ers' preseason game against the New Orleans Saints but did play. He will now look for a new team with the NFL season just four weeks away.
The timing of the move could be meant to create space for Daunte Culpepper.
Michel Crabtree is making his way back from a left foot injury and might be slightly ahead of schedule. Why?
Matt Maiocco has the details:
While walking without an orthopedic boot certain doesn't mean a player is ready to return to full-contact on the file, it is a promising sign for a player who has battled injury since coming to the league.
Maiocco also had an update on the 49ers wide receivers and their plans for the upcoming season:
The team expects Crabtree to be cleared to practice within the next two weeks after he was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list at the beginning of training camp with a left foot injury.
Crabtree is not expected to play in any exhibition games, but the club anticipates he will be available for the regular-season opener, Sept. 11, against the Seattle Seahawks.
Maiocco also had a few things to say on Braylon Edwards and how he hopes to work with both Crabtree and QB Alex Smith in the upcoming season. If everyone is able to get healthy - and Smith has more than half a second to throw the football - they could be a dangerous combination.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Bay Area for complete updates on Crabtree's progress and the 49ers training camp. For more 49ers coverage, check out Niners Nation.
It is no secret that the San Francisco 49ers are looking at any and all options at the quarterback position and they are reportedly turning to a well-known veteran to add to their depth chart. Who? No other then Daunte Culpepper.
Matt Maiocco of CSN just tweeted the news:
Daunte Culpepper has already worked out for 49ers, and source said he expects team to try sign him to a 1-year deal.
What role would Culpepper exactly have should he sign with the team? Maiocco weighs in on this situation once again in this report:
If the deal is completed, Culpepper could be on the practice field at 2:30 p.m. for the team's scheduled three-hour workout. But the 49ers do not envision Culpepper as a competitor for the starting job. If the 49ers sign Culpepper, he would arrive as the third quarterback.
If the 49ers sign Culpepper, 34, he would not be taking over for Smith or Kaepernick. And he would not be joining the quarterback competition. There aren't enough practice snaps at this stage of training camp to hold a three-way competition.
At this stage, the 49ers are looking for a third quarterback with experience who does not need many practice snaps to be able to function in a game -- if needed.
It would be an interesting signing to say the least. Anyone who envisions Culpepper as a player who would see regular playing time once the seasons starts is probably fooling themselves, but he is an experienced veteran with a ton of NFL experience.
The fact is, Alex Smith has not exactly dazzled to this point in training camp and Colin Kaepernick likely isn't ready to become a full-time starter in the league. Does Coach Harbaugh view this as a potential mentoring opportunity for his young quarterbacks or is there legitimate concern about the future of the quarterback position in San Francisco?
Stay tuned to SB Nation Bay Area for complete coverage of Daunte Culpepper and his interactions with the team. For more 49ers coverage, be sure to check out Niners Nation.
It looks like Jim Harbaugh saw enough from the first preseason performance by the San Francisco 49ers to reconsider his commitment to Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as his one-two combo at quarterback. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports via a league source that NFL veteran Daunte Culpepper is going to or is currently working out with the Niners.
Culpepper's best days are over a half-decade ago. His heyday was with the Minnesota Vikings, when he teamed up with Randy Moss to provide one of the most devastating QB-WR combos in NFL history. But he struggled in his final season and then suffered a serious knee injury that started his decline out of the league. He hovered in stints with the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions before spending the last season in the UFL.
But the Niners definitely could use a hand. Smith is still an unrestricted free agent and Kaepernick is unrestricted in his vigorous youth. Culpepper at least provides a veteran presence, although his touchdown to interception ratio currently hovers under one.
For more on San Francisco football, go to Niners Nation.
With the injury to Nate Byham the The San Francisco 49ers were looking for some help at the tight end position, and got it on Sunday as the team announced they have signed TE Nate Lawrie to a one-year deal.
The 6'6", 255 Lawrie is a Indianapolis, IN native, playing his college ball at Yale University where he set the school record for receptions by a tight end in a single-season with 72 in his senior year. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing for them for one year before heading to the Saints ('05-06), Bengals ('07-08), Ravens (2008), and Eagles (2010). He has played in a total 26 NFL games in his career with five starts, racking up four receptions for 43 yards along the way.
Lawrie also spent a couple of seasons in the UFL, seeing time with the California Redwoods in 2009 and the Sacramento Mountain Lions in 2010, with 26 receptions for 252 yards and one touchdown in his time in the United Football League.
For more on the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation to get in on the discussion and get your voice heard!
In what has to be one of the least surprising stories of the offseason, the San Francisco 49ers have an issue at quarterback. Alex Smith didn't have an inspiring performance in his first preseason game (although to be fair, the pass protection he received was horrid), and Colin Kaepernick showed enough flashes to make Niners fans wonder what a change would be like. It's been the rinse/repeat formula for the 49ers at quarterback for the past half-decade.
So 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is going to be asked about the situation a lot. He's a bit noncommittal, but he is leaning in one direction right now. Eric Branch of the Chronicle:
"If I'm a betting man, I'm betting on Alex Smith," Harbaugh said then. A day earlier, he had given Smith, then an unrestricted free agent, a playbook with the understanding Smith would re-sign with the team.
Harbaugh said his mind-set hasn't changed, but a "clear-cut definitive winner" has yet to emerge.
Based on the lack of an experienced quarterback beyond Smith on the roster, Harbaugh said it is a possible the 49ers would add another QB if the "right person" were available.
Jeff George, come on down! (At least Vernon Davis is confident.)
For more on the 49ers QB situation, Niners Nation is the location.
The San Francisco 49ers didn't start their preseason they way they had hoped last night against the Saints, but there were some bright spots to take away from the 24-3 loss. One of the standouts during the game for the Niners was wide receiver Kyle Williams, while some of the the other WR's certainly were working out some growing pains still.
Williams led all San Francisco receivers with two catches for 34 yards, with on of those receptions for 25 yards. Those numbers don' sound outstanding by any means (eve in a preseason game), but considering the sputtering nature of their offense last night these numbers were a bit of s silver lining. With Mike Crabtree sidelined with a fot injury and Braylon Edwards still learning his way around the Niners offense, guys like Kyle Williams and Josh Morgan (DNP last night) are going to have to step up and help Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith get comfortable.
One WR the really struggled last night was rookie Ronald Johnson. He caught zero passes for zero yards although he was targeted seven times. Kaep and Smith didn't shine at the QB postion either, but Johnson has got to haul in some balls if he is getting targeted that much. Johnson did return two punts for 27 yards, a place where he might have the most impact on the team this season.
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation to get in on the action.
The 49ers have had a crazy offseason (who hasn't, with this lockout?), and there are two deciding factors when it all comes down to whether or not it was a good one: Jim Harbaugh, and players needing a change of scenery. They brought some good starters in who could be something special if they can get past the mental barriers.
The San Francisco 49ers kick off their preseason schedule against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans on Friday. The team, which had its last full practice on Wednesday, has resolved several of its offensive issues over the past few weeks, including running back Frank Gore's holdout and the vacancy at wide receiver created by Michael Crabtree's injury (cue Braylon Edwards). However, there seems to be a question at the quarterback position. Is it wiser to trust veteran Alex Smith or should rookie Colin Kaepernick get a chance?
Coach Jim Harbaugh fielded several questions from CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocci about the 49ers quarterback situation. Asked if all four of his quarterbacks would see action, Harbaugh responded, "I'm anticipating that right now, yes."
All four will get snaps, but it appears that Smith and Kaepernick are one-two on the depth chart at this point and are the most likely to handle the major quarterback duties for the season. Smith is the clear-cut starter right now due to his experience, having spent five seasons with the 49ers. Harbaugh, however, likes how Colin Kaepernick is progressing as well: "I think he's ready. He's done a fabulous job." Harbaugh also went on to compare Kaepernick with the other rookies: "And Kaep really is leading the way (in progression). Of all the rookies, he's the most game-ready of all of them."
Some have speculated that a poor showing by Smith early on in the season will give Kaepernick the chance to step into the limelight early. Saturday's game, where both quarterbacks should see a significant number of snaps, will give us all an indication of just how close the two men are to each other. If Smith performs well, he can solidify himself as the clear starter However, a poor showing by Smith and a solid performance by Kapernick could start the turning the tables.
Of course, it's unwise to glean too much from any one game (and especially a preseason game). Saturday's match-up against the Saints, however, should give us some idea of how the 49ers quarterbacks stack up against one another.
With training camp in full wing and the San Francisco 49ers first preseason games just days away head coach Jim Harbaugh went on KNBR's Murph & Mac show to talk about his reciving core, some injury issues and how he wants to re-incorporate the passing game in San Francisco.
Harbaugh spoke about how he feels the WR's get "bored" when they get "two or three balls thrown to them in a game," and wants to mix in about 65-70 plays a game with his receiving core. The Niners haven't had much of a big time target since Terrell Owens up and left town, but Harbaugh feels that his WR's are having a great training camp so far, especially Ted Ginn.
Coach Harbaugh would move to the most talked about topic concerning the receivers this preseason, the addition of Braylon Edwards to the team. He admitted that Edwards has " a little something right now that's slowing him down, but he's practicing every day" and would not divulge the nature of his injury. With Michael Crabtree still in a walking boot with his bum foot, Edwards becomes the spotlight receiver on the team as of now, though he has been doing most of his work with the second-team offense thus far.
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.
Turns out safety Reggie Smith wasn't kidding when he gave that tweet suggesting injury. The good news is it won't be serious enough to keep him out for an extended period of time. The bad news is that he could be out for the majority of training camp, the preseason, maybe even the first week or two of the regular season, so the defensive back Ferris wheel continues to circulate for the Niners.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee found out through a source that Smith tore a meniscus in one of his knees, will be out a couple of weeks, but the injury won't be long-term. It does explain why the 49ers were quick to re-sign Dashon Goldson on a one-year deal when it looked like he was ready to leave town. Now it looks like the Niners will have actually quite a bit of depth in the secondary when everyone is back to full health.
For more on San Francisco's training camp, go to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers have suffered plenty of turmoil in their secondary lately. First Nate Clements signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Carlos Rogers was signed to a one year deal. They've been shopping second-year safety Taylor Mays. Donte Whitner joined the team on a one-year deal. Dashon Goldson is not likely to be retained. There are so many things changing up in the Bay Area backfield.
Everything happens 4 a reason & I believe it. Just wished it wouldn't have happened right now. But with God on my side I know it will be OK
To make matters worse, Michael Erler of CBS Sports and Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee had some further words of notice about Smith from the 49ers head coach. Jim Harbaugh did say that Smith said he had "felt something", which translated into football fan speak means "Oh, dear God please no!"
For more on 49ers training camp, Niners Nation is your destination.
Miller is a 6'2, 255 former defensive end out of UCF, but was told by the 49ers that he'd be converted to fullback this season. He played tight end in high school and the 49ers worked him out as a fullback pre-draft; apparently they liked him enough there to draft him in the 7th round. Miller will be gunning for starting fullback Moran Norris' job, but he'll face competition from recently signed Titans' practice squad FB Jack Corcoran.
Undrafted free agent rookie Konrad Reuland and former 49ers practice squad tight end Colin Cloherty are expected to compete in camp in the H-back role as well, meaning they'll both likely see time at fullback as well. Altogether this means that Miller will have to show that he's fully recovered from the shoulder injury that sidelined him if he hopes to secure a roster spot.
Once the team signed Carlos Rogers to a one-year deal, we talked about how bringing back safety Dashon Goldson was a must. Well, it was a must because that's the only other safety the 49ers had been linked to. Goldson is an above-average safety, and if the 49ers were to replace him with another above-average safety, it sure would help Rogers do his job as the team's number one corner.
Goldson stated on Twitter that he wasn't coming back, although that's not a 100% confirmation at this point, given his propensity to overreact on Twitter. However, his return doesn't appear to be likely at this point. Goldson would have been nice, but at this point, he was either asking for too much money (as evidenced by the fact that he's still not signed) or doesn't fit into the team's scheme.
As noted, Rogers seriously needs some help over the top if he's to keep his confidence, and now the 49ers have signed Madieu Williams and Donte Whitner, presumably to be the team's starting safeties. Taylor Mays or Reggie Smith could still be in the mix, but the former might be traded and the latter isn't likely to beat these veterans out for the job. So Williams-Whitner could be your starting safety tandem, behind Rogers and either Shawntae Spencer, Tarrel Brown or rookie Chris Culliver.
You could do a lot worse for that, and the 49ers look a little better now than they did just a few short, panic-filled days ago. The fanbase was freaking out on general manager Trent Baalke and team owner Jed York - why were they being so patient? Why weren't they signing anybody? Well now they've added at least three dependable defensive backs and it all looks to be an upgrade in the end.
Will the 49ers have a better secondary? Your guess is as good as our's, but the team has made signings that appear solid at face value. Let's see if patience pays off.
Washington Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers is scheduled to visit the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Rogers, 30, has spent all Rogers has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins.
Rogers was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Redskins, and he has been a solid starter in Washington's defensive backfield since his sophomore season with 63 starts in 66 games. In 12 games of action last season, Rogers had 12 pass deflections and two interceptions for 43 yards, including an impressive 38-yard return against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rogers has made it clear that he is looking for a change of scenery this offseason. The 49ers could be a great fit for him: the team ranked 24th against the pass last season and need to address a hole in the secondary created by the departure of cornerback Nate Clements, who chose to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. Rogers is an established veteran and should be one of San Francisco's top priorities at this point as the team looks to solidify its defense.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is in the last year of his contract, set to earn $2.9 million this year and $2 million as a roster bonus. Like any other good player, Gore is looking to cash in and secure a contract extension. Coach Jim Harbaugh says that he expects Gore to get his contract extension "sooner rather than later," according to SportsNet Bay Area's Mindi Bach.
The two-time Pro-Bowler had posted four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers prior to last season. Gore definitely would have made it five straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons last year had it not been for a fractured hip that cost him five games.
Gore is the centerpiece of the 49ers offense and expanded his offensive role last season. In only 11 games of action, Gore took 203 carries for a total of 853 yards. In the two seasons prior to 2010, when Gore played 14 games each season, Gore saw only a slightly larger workload with 229 carries in 2009 and 240 carries in 2008. Gore also posted 452 receiving yards last season, achieving more yards last year in 11 games than in any of the previous three seasons when he played between 14 to 15 games.
Needless to say, both sides would like to get this deal done. The 49ers should be cautious about injury concerns, but Gore is too big of an offensive cog in their system to replace. If Coach Harbaugh's statement is to be trusted, the 49ers and Gore may begin contract extension talks very soon.
Over the weekend Nate Byham suffered what appeared to be a serious injury his leg. He was on crutches on Sunday and now we finally have word about the severity of his injury. According to his agent, Byham suffered a torn ACL and will likely be out for the season. Byham will undergo surgery at Stanford Hospital in two weeks.
The injury leaves Colin Cloherty and undrafted free agent Konrad Reuland competing for the third tight end role behind Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. While Davis and Walker are significant weapons in the 49ers offense, the new Jim Harbaugh/Greg Roman offense is expected to make significant use of the tight ends.
Cloherty has one career reception in two pro seasons and was activated by the 49ers for the final two games of the 2010 season. Reuland has the benefit of having worked with Jim Harbaugh extensively at Stanford. The 49ers have plenty of cap room so it is possible they will bring in another body to compete for that third tight end position.
Frank Gore ended his lockout and will return to the San Francisco 49ers training facility on Monday. He could be entering some empty hallways. The Niners are cancelling their Monday practice. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that this is due to the new labor agreement, stipulating that a team must take a day off practice within the first six days of training camp. Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers organization picked Monday, because seriously, who wants to work on a Monday anyway? Lunatics, that's who. And the 49ers are clearly not wielding flamethrowers with icepicks during football games.
Today's practice seemed to be an intriguing one as there ever was for a Sunday in training camp. First round draft pick Aldon Smith appeared to perform quite well against the Niners offensive linemen, including Joe Staley. Smith said that he'll be playing a lot of defensive end on third down situations. Keep that in mind when you're tracking third down performance this fall in your notebooks.
For more on 49ers practice, check out Niners Nation.
After news that rookie Curtis Holcomb would likely be out for the entire 2011 season, the 49ers have a couple more injuries to add to that list. Second-year tight end Nate Byham suffered a leg injury on Saturday and was carted off the field. Byham went for a pass near the sideline and came down awkwardly on his leg, staying there in pain for some time before being carted away. According to Matt Maiocco, Byham showed obvious frustration and spoke briefly with Scott McKillop, who is coming off an injury that ended his 2010 season with the team.
Byham's injury is significant because the 49ers figure to be employing a power running offense with an emphasis on a vertical passing game to tight ends. He was going to be in as a blocking specialist, where he would have been used frequently, though he did show flashes of good hands as a rookie. He was hoping to show the team what he can do in that regard, but now we'll have to wait and see how significant this injury is.
Undrafted rookie Dontavia Bogan also seems to be injured. Sam Lam tweeted this:
WR Dontavia Bogan looks to have injured his right leg, was carted off the field. TE Nate Byham is sitting during practice with crutches.
Bogan was battling for a spot on the roster with guys like Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler, Ronald Johnson and others, but now it appears he's not going to have that chance. If he was carted off the field, the chances of him returning to impress in the preseason are very slim, and that's a shame. Bogan had a lot of potential to make the practice squad and stick with the WR-light team for a few years, potentially earning a roster spot along the way. Now everything is up in the air.
In other news, guard Chilo Rachal was back in the lineup at practice, in the right guard spot. Rachal had figured to be battling with Adam Snyder for the position before free agent David Baas signed with the New York Giants. Now it appears that Snyder is among the front-runners for the starting center job, while Rachal will be competing with rookies like Daniel Kilgore and the recently-signed Tony Wragge.
That's day one under wraps for the San Francisco 49ers training camp, and with it we learned ... not a lot, as it happens. Only so much can happen in one day, and the team's probable starting quarterback couldn't even take part. As per the new league rules while transitioning from the lockout to the new deal, Alex Smith, a free agent who signed with the team on Friday, is not allowed to practice until August 4th. But we did learn things like how Jim Harbaugh handles a training camp, getting a look at the kind of coach he is.
According to everybody present, Harbaugh was very hands-on, snapping the ball to rookie Colin Kaepernick at one point, while animatedly directing things on all fronts. Speaking of Kaepernick, he impressed the media attending and generally looked good. Matt Barrows tweeted that he was accurate and made the downfield throws required of him, while Matt Maiocco noted that the best offensive play of the day was a 25-yard corner route from the rookie to Vernon Davis. Last year we were writing about 11-to-85, is there a chance that we're going to get 7-to-85 this season?
We won't know that until Smith is able to participate in training camp, though Kaepernick's play would seem to factor into the decision more so than Smith's. As it stands, Smith is going to be the starter, even if he is less-than-stellar in training camp. It won't take a Smith screw up to lose him that spot, it would take Kaepernick excelling to do that.
By all accounts, it's appears to be a distinct possibility.
Anthony Dixon took the first-team snaps at running back, with feature back Frank Gore holding out for a new contract. Gore will be the centerpiece of the offense, but the snaps have to be good for Dixon, who figures to have his hands full battling rookie Kendall Hunter for the primary backup role. Dixon was out of the sixth round in 2010, while Hunter is out of the fourth round this past draft and was predicted to go much sooner. Moran Norris led the way for Dixon, and Bruce Miller didn't quite get in the thick of things yet. He's on the physically-unable-to-perform list but figures to be off of it soon.
There was one big injury, as rookie Curtis Holcomb figures to be out for the entire 2011 season as he'll require surgery for his ruptured left Achilles. Holcomb was a late-round draft choice was going to be battling for a spot on the roster, perhaps against someone like second-year player Phillip Adams. You never like to see injuries, but on the first day of training camp? It's essentially tragic. There's going to be a lot of those around the league.
So it was a productive day and everybody feels a little bit better to know that there's somebody out there throwing footballs and somebody out there chasing quarterbacks. The 49ers will have another practice Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
49ers 7th round draft pick Curtis Holcomb ruptured his achilles tendon in practice today, and is likely to miss the rest of the season, per Matt Barrows twitter account. Holcomb will have surgery on Thursday and will face a long recovery from what is one of the more painful and difficult injuries in sports.
Holcomb, at 5'10, 190 lbs was selected with the Niners last pick in this year's Draft, out of Florida A&M, and was looking to secure himself a roster spot. He doesn't lack confidence, and on a recent 49ers conference call, he had this to say about his best skill as a cornerback:
"I think I can bring a lot to the table when it comes to cornerback. It may be a shutdown corner, just an all-around type guy. I can make open-field tackles, actually I think that's my best thing. I can tackle well. But, I also like to get my hands on the ball and I think, I believe that I'm an overall good cornerback. I can play wherever the coaches need me to play."
David Fucillo and the writers over at NinersNation were already beginning to discuss Holcomb's run at a roster spot and pointed out that he'd have some competition from last year's 7th round pick Philip Adams. As Fucillo put it:
"Holcomb and Adams likely will be battling each other for that (last roster) spot. Adams has the advantage of a year under his belt in the NFL, but he also is dealing with recovery from his season-ending ankle injury. It's never too early to start considering roster and positional battles, and it is safe to say this will be one of those battles whenever football starts back up."
It looks like that roster-spot battle will not be realized. A bad start to training camp for Holcomb and the 49ers.
It looks like nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin will not be returning to the 49ers in 2011. That's been the speculation since the 49ers neglected to place the franchise tag on Franklin when given the opportunity to do so - and it's probably a good idea that they didn't. He didn't have an exceedingly bad season in 2010, but after missing out on organized team activities and the preseason, Franklin entered the regular season out of shape and unprepared. It was bad for the 49ers and it was bad for him, considering the fact that if he had those eight games back, he might be playing on a lucrative tag this year, or he'd already be signed to a big free agent contract.
His status remains up in the air, but as Matt Barrows notes, he's likely not coming back. Case in point: defensive line coach Jim Tomsula's board with the depth chart on it had Isaac Sopoaga slotted in at the nose tackle position. Ray McDonald, who just agreed to a five-year deal with the team, presumably will be the starter at left defensive end, where Sopoaga played last season.
If the team wanted Franklin back or felt confident at all that they could acquire his services, there would have been no reason for Tomsula to not include him on the board.
So when the 49ers go for workouts on Friday, it will be Sopoaga in the middle of the defensive line, with Ricky Jean Francois presumably backing him up. It's not a new position for Sopoaga, who started his professional career as a nose tackle, before being most over to defensive end. It wasn't necessarily performance-related, because he wasn't very good at either position until this past season. Was his growth in 2010 all-around, or simply in the vein of a DE?
Only time will tell, but he did do well when it came to stopping the run last season, which will be the biggest part of his job at nose tackle. He doesn't have to hustle to get after the quarterback, he simply has to eat up space and not let running backs get through. Patrick Willis and whichever linebacker starts at TED, presumably NaVorro Bowman, will be depending on Sopoaga to plus up some holes and leave ideal gaps for them. The nose tackle position makes the 3-4 defense works, one can only hope that Sopoaga can play it well at this point.
According to Matt Maiocco and this tweet just moments ago:
The 49ers say they will place WR Michael Crabtree on the physically-unable to perform list with a foot injury.
And from Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee:
The foot injury that kept Michael Crabtree out of player-run practices in June is more serious than previously believed, and the 49ers' top wideout could miss four to six weeks of training camp and the preseason, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The exact nature of the injury is not known and the 49ers did not return calls Thursday night. Crabtree, who had surgery to correct a stress fracture in his left foot early in 2009, reinjured that foot on June 6, the first day of a player-run minicamp. At the time, Morgan said that Crabtree was sore from wearing new cleats on San Jose State's artificial surface playing field.
This could be a huge blow to San Francisco as they prepare for the upcoming season. While Crabtree should be available for Week 1, you have to worry about his conditioning and transition back onto the field. This reoccurring injury has stunted his development the last few seasons.
As for the 49ers plans at wide receiver, Josh Morgan will likely become the No. 1 and he'll be joined by Ted Ginn on the opposite side of the field. The team has been rumored to be looking at various veteran free agent receivers, though.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Bay Area for complete updates on Michael Crabtree and his injured foot.
The new collective bargaining agreement included a rookie wage scale that was meant to curb the excesses of ownership in providing monster salaries to unproven players. Arguably just as important was that a rookie wage scale would likely limit the number of holdouts normally seen each year. The 49ers dealt with that when Michael Crabtree felt he deserved more than they were offering, and plenty of teams have gone through similar situations.
Well, the 49ers have taken full advantage of the situation to handle their business. The team appears to be the first in the NFL to get all of their draft class signed, sealed and delivered. The 49ers have a lot of developmental prospects and getting them to camp as soon as possible was critical.
Top pick Aldon Smith and second round pick Colin Kaepernick were two of the most critical picks both for developmental reasons and logistical reasons. Smith is expected to step in to pass rush situations fairly quickly and is making a transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.
Kaepernick is being groomed as a long term QB option. For immediate purposes, he is the only QB on the 49ers roster if they elect to cut David Carr, as expected. Alex Smith can’t practice until August 4, so having Kaepernick under contract fills the need of having an actual quarterback in camp to throw passes. Unless Jim Harbaugh is loosening up his arm.
The San Francisco 49ers begin training camp on Thursday with players reporting to Santa Clara for physical examinations. The new CBA specifically addresses issues of player health as it relates to training camp and practice time. These issues will impact the 49ers and the rest of the NFL as they begin their somewhat limited preparations for the upcoming season.
The new CBA requires teams report no more than 16 days before each team's first preseason game. That provides 15 days of practice and one day solely for physical examinations and other non-practice activities. The second and third day of training camp cannot have pads or contact. Those days would be Friday and Saturday for the Raiders.
One of the big changes is the removal of two-a-days. Teams are no longer allowed to conduct multiple padded practices in a single day. Instead, teams are allowed one padded practice limited to three hours with any second practice up to a four hour limit being a walk through.
It's worth noting that free agents signed by the team, even their own, are required to report with their team but are not allowed to take part in physical workouts until the official start of the league year, which is expected to land on August 4. Prior to that date, signed free agents (again, including their own re-signed free agents) can be required to attend meetings, classroom instruction and any other non-physical activities scheduled during the training camp. They are not allowed to participate in on-field activities, workouts, weight training, or other physical activities. These restrictions do not apply to drafted or undrafted rookies who are under contract at any point.
For the 49ers, that means Alex Smith, Ray McDonald, Tony Wragge and any other free agents won't be practicing until August 4. This is particularly intriguing given the fact that with the decision to cut David Carr, Colin Kaepernick will be the only quarterback practicing for the next week.
The San Francisco 49ers are ready to open training camp on Thursday at their team headquarters in Santa Clara, finally getting back to the grindstone in hopes of their sixth Super Bowl title. They have a lot of work to do before they get there though, especially with the limited time table given to them due to the lockout. They are only 17 days from their first preseason game, so there isn't a minute to lose.
Unfortunately the Niners will begin their season with a number of question marks on their squad, most notably running back Frank Gore holding out for more money. Hopefully Frank the Tank and the Niners can come up with a deal soon to keep him from losing precious field time with his teammates, so if I had any advice for their braintrust, it would be to pay that man his money.
Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick will begin camp under center as Alex Smith will have to sit out until Friday when his deal is finalized, and one would have to assume that this would be the last chance for him to prove his salt in San Francisco.
There are also a number of draft picks and undrafted free agents joining camp for the Niners, lead by first round pick Aldon Smith and undrafted rookie Jeremiah Masoli. It will be interesting to see where all the pieces fall once they step on the practice field, can't wait to see how it pans out.
Here's a reminder of the 49ers preseason; plan your schedules accordingly:
8/12 @ New Orleans Saints (5:00 pm PT)
8/20 vs. Oakland Raiders (5:00 pm PT)
8/27 vs. Houston Texans (5:00 pm PT)
9/1 @ San Diego Chargers (7:00 pm PT)
The 49ers will begin the regular season at home versus the Seattle Seahawks on 9/11 at 1:15 pm PT on FOX.
For more on the 49ers, head to Niners Nation to get in on the action.
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